Amidst the water awareness week, it's worth noting that the Lemon and Grapefruit Interbranch Association (AILIMPO) has been working for years to reduce the water footprint of lemon production in Spain in order to contribute to the UN's Sustainable Development Goal 6 "Clean water and sanitation", and SDG 12 "Responsible production and consumption."
"In the last 30 years, “the Spanish lemon sector has decreased its water footprint by 38.96%. This means that producing 1 ton of lemon in 2020 requires 173 m³ less water than in 1990,” stated AILIMPO in its report on Spain's Lemon Water Footprint.
“The sector achieved this lower water footprint thanks to the important efforts that it's made in the optimization of irrigation water and the increase in yields, which has allowed the Spanish lemon to have a water footprint that is 57.8% lower than the world average.”
The Spanish lemon production's water footprint stood at 271 m³/t. The water footprint of the Fino variety stood at 238 m³/t and the water footprint of the Verna variety was at 369 m³/t.
By producing provinces, the water footprint of the lemon produced in Malaga stood at 377 m³/t, in Murcia at 288 m³/t, in Alicante at 272 m³/t, and in Almeria at 240 m³/t, the report detailed.
“Lemon cultivation is a model in the optimal use and management of irrigation water. Significant investments in storage infrastructure and improved distribution facilities are leading to a significant reduction in water losses during transport to farms.”
“According to ESYRCE, 84% of the irrigated area in citrus farms uses localized irrigation systems, which allows the optimal adaptation of the dosing and distribution of water and nutrients during all phases of the plant's growth and production process, optimizing the productivity of the water resource used.”
“The lemon and grapefruit surface area with localized irrigation has increased by 268% in the last 30 years. These advances in irrigation and fertilization have increased productivity. As a matter of fact, lemon cultivation has increased its yields by 274% in the last 3 decades,” the report highlighted.
“Despite all these advances, our sector continues to move forward to continue improving its water footprint by implementing technologies and practices to further reduce water consumption and make more sustainable use of inputs in lemon production.”